Jennifer Scales is a photographer who focuses her art around capturing the unique perception of travel, using motion to create abstract landscape photography.
Peissenberg / Germany
Jennifer Scales is a photographer based in Bavaria, Germany. The focus of her artwork is capturing the unique perception of travel – particularly train travel – using motion to create abstract landscape photography. While studying photo design in Munich (2003-07), she chose experimental photography as a main subject. After two years of exploring motion blur and camera movement, her diploma work "Der Weg ist das Ziel" (the journey is the destination) showed a wide range of landscapes in motion and was awarded top grades. Her solo exhibition in 2008 was the first of a number of national and international presentations – both in group and solo shows. Even though art had to take the back seat in 2010 when Jennifer became a (single) mother, she continued to work on her artistic position in smaller series. Focusing on specific trains such as the TGV (French high-speed train, 2009/10) or on specific locations as in her series "Made in China" (long distance and night trains in China and Taiwan, 2015), she refined her style of impressionist photography. 2021, the European Year of Rail, presented Jennifer with the opportunity to engage in a larger project again. She was selected to be part of the EU Commission's "Connecting Europe Express" project. This special train zigzagged Europe for 36 days, and Jennifer was on board for half the journey, documenting European landscapes in 13 countries. It was also the inspiration for her current project, "Travelscapes" – a book with train views from across Europe, showing the uniqueness of each place in the universality of the travel experience. So far (Jan 2023), Jennifer has visited 24 European countries by train, mainly in Southern and Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, and is planning to cover Western Europe and the UK in 2023.
Stillness in the Rush For most people, traveling is about the destination, but for me, it is quite the opposite. I find the essence of travel in the nameless places between departure and arrival. I take trains whenever possible because I relish the ever-moving beauty of the images I see through the windows. Moving landscapes have fascinated me from a very young age. I was 5 or 6 when I was first allowed to take a train all by myself. As I pressed my nose to the cold window and let myself be dazzled by the colorful stripes and patterns, I made an amazing discovery: If I moved my eyes along with the blur – so quickly that I didn't know what I was following – I could catch short glimpses of things. It could be a split-second of a twig or a blossoming bush, visible for a moment and gone before I knew it. A few leaves growing next to the tracks, imprinted in my memory as clearly as if I could touch them. Today, I follow the landscapes with my camera. My own movement partly counteracts the train's speed and allows me to capture islands of focus within dynamic pictures. In the Rush of travel, I reach a place of inner stillness that allows me to preserve the fleeting beauty. Ironically, focusing on these transient moments gives me a deep sense of being grounded and connected.